Millennials + Healthcare
Born between the early 1980s and late 1990s, the millennial generation is the first to be completely immersed in digital technology. They have grown up in an electronics-filled world, where everything is shared or available at the touch of a screen, or with the tap of a button – convenience can be as important as cost, and they are often willing to forgo one for another. Of course, the ability to access information at the drop of a hat has created an intense desire for instant gratification. Even though most millennials want quick digital services and results, they still crave real world experiences. It’s true that younger individuals still want to visit brick and mortar establishments, but they don’t want to waste time in unpleasant environments. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” which is especially true of the millennial generation. If they don’t like what they see, they won’t stay. The Healthcare market has not been immune to these changes. Traditionally, primary care physicians were always the first stop when seeking medical assistance. Millennials, however, chose to see a primary care physician only 61% of the time.
When asked, most millennials said they wanted quiet, spa-like environments that are accessible 24/7. They want online registration, remote access to clinicians, wellness and retail amenities, and mobile apps for information tracking. When deciding which healthcare providers to visit, they are twice-as-likely than older patients to do online research. Only twenty-eight percent of seniors look at online reviews, compared to fifty percent of millennials. Younger patients want to easily access not only their own health information, but also information about providers.
As interactions between the healthcare system and the younger generation grow, demand for convenience will increase. “If you look at the demands of millennials on our society as consumers, they are a group that uses services such as Amazon and the Internet…,” said Dr. Ron Rowes, chief medical officer of Prominence Health Plan. “They’re used to reaching out when they need something, getting instant gratification, moving on …”  If healthcare providers are not able to deliver the quick service they are accustomed to receiving, millennials may look to alternative care providers.
In the healthcare space, millennials are pushing for greater emphasis on technology, speed, telemedicine and customer service.  “Virtual Visits” where patients and providers connect over the internet, have become increasingly popular. The emergence of online portals, where patients can easily retrieve records and test results, are satisfying the millennial desire for easy access to information. One integrated healthcare provider stated that of their 650,000 online system users, more than 60% are millennials. The growth of “retail clinics” in the United States may be seen as a result of millennial drive for instant gratification. Rather than scheduling an appointment with their physician weeks in advance, many are choosing to visit retail clinics: small clinics, often located in retail facilities (i.e. Walgreens), that offer walk-in treatment for minor ailments. Thirty-four percent of millennials prefer the convenience of retail clinics. They arrive without an appointment and have on the spot access to a medical professional.
Understanding that the younger generation appreciates convenience and accessibility, healthcare operators are providing retail-style environments that appeal to millennial sensibilities. They know that millennials are very aware of the quality of their surroundings, so appearance and customer service are moving to the forefront of the healthcare environment.
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